Magazine article Newsweek

Historical Text: The Birth of Jesus

Magazine article Newsweek

Historical Text: The Birth of Jesus

Article excerpt

Annunciation Of The Virgin

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great... and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? From The Gospel According To Luke 1:30-34

Gabriel's visitation to Mary is the fullest telling of how Jesus was, in the words of the Nicene Creed, 'incarnate of the Holy Ghost.' In Matthew, the only other Biblical account of Jesus' birth, the story is told from Joseph's point of view, with his learning his betrothed is 'with child of the Holy Ghost'--news that persuades him not to 'put her away.' Joseph's Dilemma Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found [to be] with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. From Matthew 1: 18-19

With Joseph, Matthew gave his listeners a regular man, indignant and humiliated. Then, in a device familiar to the audience accustomed to the Hebrew Bible, a dream transforms his views when an angel tells him that the father of Mary's child is God himself.

Echoes Of Abraham And God said, Sarah thy wife shallbear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac. From Genesis 17:19

From Abraham's wife, Sarah, conceiving Isaac, to Hannah bearing Samuel, miraculous births have deep roots in Judaism. Mary's purity, however, is distinctive, for the other Biblical examples of God's granting children to the aged or the barren do not involve virgins but ordinary married women.

Geography Is Destiny Jesus lived in a world ruled by the Romans, and there is scholarly debate over whether a figure so associated with Nazareth was really born in Bethlehem, expected birthplace of the Messiah. …

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